On Monday, March 27, 2023, a private Christian elementary school in Nashville was left in shock after a shooter killed six people, including three 9-year-old students and three adults. This tragic event is being called the deadliest school shooting in the US in almost a year, and it marks the 19th shooting at a school or university this year that left at least one person wounded.
The Covenant School, a ministry of Covenant Presbyterian Church, released a statement expressing its heartbreak and gratitude for the quick response of first responders and the support shown by the community. The school stated that its focus is on supporting and loving its students, families, faculty, and staff as they begin the healing process.
Who are the Nashville School shooting victims?
The victims have been identified as Evelyn, a 9-year-old student at the school, Hill, a beloved custodian and father of seven, Koonce, the head of the school, Peak, believed to be a substitute teacher, and Hallie, a 9-year-old and the daughter of Covenant Presbyterian Church Lead Pastor Chad Scruggs.
Evelyn’s family released a statement expressing their appreciation for the love and support they have received and asked for privacy as they grieve. They described Evelyn as a “shining light in this world” and said their hearts were completely broken.
Hill, also known as “Big Mike” to students, was a member of the facilities/kitchen staff at the school. He was described as a man who loved to cook and spend time with his family, which included 14 grandchildren. Hill’s daughter, Brittany, shared in a Facebook post that her dad loved his job and that she never thought she would lose a loved one over a person trying to solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution. The Nashville community has set up a GoFundMe page to help support Hill’s family with funeral expenses.
Koonce, the head of the school, was described on the school’s website as having attended Vanderbilt University and Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville and having obtained her master’s degree from Georgia State University.
Peak, believed to be a substitute teacher, was known to Louisiana state Rep. Charles Anthony Owen, who shared on Facebook that Peak was his childhood friend. He described how her hometown of Leesville, Louisiana, is grieving and how she was always with his sister growing up.
Hallie, the daughter of Covenant Presbyterian Church Lead Pastor Chad Scruggs, was described in a statement by Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, a sister church that Scruggs formerly served. The church expressed its love for the Scruggs family and mourned the loss of their precious daughter. The Texas congregation’s Senior Pastor Mark Davis said, “Together, we trust in the power of Christ to draw near and give us the comfort and hope we desperately need.”
This tragic event has once again sparked the debate about gun control and the need for increased mental health support in the US. As the families of the victims grieve, the community is rallying around them with support and love, hoping to begin the healing process together.